‘Earthquake’ hits town

The Meckering earthquake fault line.
The Meckering earthquake fault line.

Between 30 and 40 emergency service workers attended the drill outside the York Recreation Centre on Monday and Friday.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services, police, ambulance and shire representatives make up the local emergency management committee that manages response to emergencies and disasters.

Acting superintendent of the special operations response team, Rick Curtis, said the simulation was an opportunity to test the local response to a major disaster near the town.

About 11am on October 14, 1968, Meckering, about 60km northeast of York, was destroyed by an earthquake

Several earthquakes of a magnitude of four on the Richter scale have been recorded close to York, which is thought to be on the western margin of the South West Seismic Zone.

Mr Curtis said holding the earthquake simulation in York was ‘just far enough away to test the metro response’.

‘We woke the team up at 6am on their day off and told them about the simulated emergency,’ Mr Curtis said.

‘A recognisance team of four came in the police chopper. And, as a task force, we went about conducting our work.’

Mr Curtis said should there be a major emergency, the metro team would need to live at the site without any outside help for between 48 and 72 hours.

Officer in charge of York police station, Sergeant Mark Gubanyi, urged residents not to panic if they saw emergency services in the area during the exercise.

‘It is vital for us to be able to test our capabilities in meeting the community’s needs during times of emergency or disaster,’ Sgt Gubanyi said.